"He looks harmless doesn't he. Ever seen a smile on the face of a tiger?
Tigers can look nice, but they can tear you to bits"
- Hubert

Greg and Charles are interrupted whilst working out in the fields by the arrival of a man.

He introduces himself as Alistair McFadden. He is knowledgeable about herbal medicine.
After his period of isolation he comes to the farmhouse to meet the Whitecross community.

He witnesses a spat between Ruth and Jenny. Jenny is fed up of making soap and thinks that
Ruth's trip to London has made her obssessive about hygiene.

Greg soon discovers that Jenny is really upset about his trip to London and explains that she
couldn't cope if he ever left her again. Jenny asks Greg to promise her that he will never
leave again. He tells her he cannot promise her that and suggests that she needs a break
from the baby and the children. She is not so sure. Hubert is unhappy because his house roof
is leaking, but no-one will let him live with them because he smells.

Matters worsen when Alistair is given a room in the White House where Arthur lives. Hubert
sees this as preferential  treatment and takes a dislike to the newcomer. Hubert soon
discovers from a mislaid newspaper cutting that before the death Alistair had murdered a
child. Hubert intends to use this to make sure of Alistair's exclusion from the community.

Charles learns from Hubert that Alistair is hiding something and demands an explanation.

McFadden explains to a select gathering that the event happened in his old life when he had
been unable to control his anger when a child had been frightened of him. He believes that
his seclusion since the death has helped him to heal himself and now he wants to be with
people again.

Ruth is supportive of his plight and the others agree that he can stay. Hubert is not prepared
to accept this and spreads rumours about Alistair.

He even advises John to be wary of him, likening him to a tiger.

Later when John is playing he runs away from Alistair when he jumps out at him as a joke.

Alistair is confused and then angered by the incident. Lizzie can't find John after calling out
to him for some time.

Lizzie alerts the adults to John's disappearance. Arthur announces Alistair's departure shortly
afterwards and the wrong conclusions are drawn.

Alistair is brought back to Whitecross and he tells them about the incident with John. The boy
is still missing as night falls. Alistair is guarded as the others decide what should be done.
Ruth thinks he should be let go.

Greg is reluctant to hold a murder trial and decides to secretly release him from house arrest
before morning.

John is found in the quarantine hut having gone there after he had run away from the
settlement. Alistair decides to leave anyway. Charles is initially angry that Greg did not
consult him about his decision, but more upset that the community did not do right by Alistair.

Episode Review

This episode follows a standard pattern which is repeated throughout the second series. Namely the arrival of potential community members, who have something about them that sets them apart from the crowd, in this instance a terrible secret in his past. Another recurring feature is that these new arrivals often have skills that are unique and therefore useful to the community. Alistair is a herbalist, therefore complementing Ruth's medical skills. Although this scenario is unlikely it does give the series the chance to examine as yet unexplored avenues.

After John's disappearance the question of Alistair's trial nods neatly to the drastic actions carried out in
Law and Order. This time Greg is unsurprisingly against the idea.

John Line's performance as Alistair is great, especially during the scenes in which he reveals his secret to the community gathering. Lucy Fleming and Ian McCulloch are also on form as usual, especially in the emotional scenes they have together in their home. It is interesting that Jenny's concerns about Greg's recent absence in London and possible future absence are examined here, prefiguring the events that are to be played out in the final series.

This episode finally brings a feeling that the rollercoaster ride which started with the fire at the grange, is finally over, or at least that it has slowed down. However, some would criticise that from this point on the second series slows down too much as the focus shifts from tragedy and all out action to the day-to-day rigours of community life.

Rating: 7/10

Episode 18:  Face of the Tiger

writer: Don Shaw
first broadcast:
28th April 1976

Regular Cast:

Greg Preston: Ian McCulloch
Charles Vaughan: Denis Lill
Jenny Richards: Lucy Fleming
Ruth Anderson: Celia Gregory
Pet Simpson:
Lorna Lewis
Hubert Goss: John Abineri
Jack Wood: Gordon Salkilld
Arthur Russell: Michael Gover
Lizzie Willoughby: Tanya Ronder
John Millon: Stephen Dudley

Guest Cast:

Alistair McFadden: John Line

designer: Ian Watson
Terence Williams
Terence Dudley
episode recorded: 
6th April - 11th April 1976



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Page Last Updated: 22nd November 2002  All text Andy Priestner   Screen Captures BBC